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The Covid pandemic has taught us to invest in R&D, strive to be self-sufficient: Naidu | India News

NEW DELHI: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said on Friday that the coronavirus pandemic has taught us the need to invest in and sustain research and development and strive to be self-sufficient, and urged the private sector to partner with various institutes to promote innovation. in the country.
Addressing the farewell function of the India International Science Festival via virtual mode from Hyderabad, he also said that science opens the way for progress and the creation of material wealth for the country.
“We should also aim to achieve self-reliance first in critical sectors such as electronics and defense. With the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem and nearly 10,000 tech-led startups, India has great potential to become atma nirbhar (self-sufficient). in many sectors, “he told attendees.
Describing science as the lifeblood of human progress, he said hardworking scientists gave us many things, from a lightbulb to an airplane to vaccines that can fight deadly diseases.
“In fact, we are about to launch our own indigenous Covid vaccine. It is science and hard-working scientists that have made this possible. Starting with very few test kits at the beginning of the pandemic, in a span of a few months. We have developed cheaper and faster diagnostics, ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE).
“Today, we can even export EPI. It is in this context that people should be aware of current scientific developments and the work of dedicated scientists,” he said according to the text of his speech.
The pandemic, the vice president said, has also reinforced the importance of scientific temperament in our lives.
One of the main challenges of this pandemic has been the prevalence of the ‘infodemic’. The false information about the nature of the virus, the medication and the vaccine caused panic and anxiety among people, he observed.
“It is not vaccines or drugs that can defeat the infodemic, but a rational perspective among the people. A citizenry that can think critically will be immune to that misinformation or false news. This spirit of inquiry must be brought to the people. ., ” he is stressed.
Naidu felt that people must also recognize that the fourth industrial revolution is underway and that India cannot afford to miss out this time.
“We must quickly capitalize on our demographic dividend, empower our youth, and ride this revolution to make our unique mark on the world of science,” he observed.
Naidu felt that it was necessary to increase the focus on science education. “I’m talking about both science education (STEM) and scientific thinking. We must encourage our children to pursue a career in STEM, improve the quality of research in our institutes, increase Rand D investments, and foster diversity in the field, “he said.
When it comes to scientific thinking, there is no quick fix but nurturing critical thinking from an early age through renewed pedagogy, he considered.
Sustainability should be an intrinsic part of scientific research, he said, adding that one cannot afford to look at sustainability and technology in silos. “We have to take a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to science education that addresses ecological concerns,” he said.
The vice president considered that science and technology should address the urgent needs of the common man. Cutting-edge advancements like nanotechnology are strategically important, but the key is to recognize micro-innovations in agriculture, crafts, education and health, he said.
“For example, a low-cost and reliable water purifier could save millions of lives. A resistant variety of seeds can benefit an entire farming community. In the end, science has to make the life of the common man comfortable.” Naidu suggested.
Referring to COVID-19, he said that if there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is that we must invest and sustain research and development and strive to be self-sufficient.
“Our space program is an excellent example of how self-reliance can be achieved … In this regard, I also call on the private sector to partner with various institutes to promote innovation in the country,” he said in his speech.
He felt that it was necessary to instill the scientific temperament at an early age. “Children have an inherent curiosity. How we channel that curiosity is very important. If we encourage them to ask questions and think critically, they will become confident, self-assured and fearless for the rest of their lives.
“A trusting generation means a trusting nation. On the other hand, if we dissuade them from asking questions and restrict their imaginations, they will always depend on the solutions of others and remain unsure of themselves,” he said.

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